Let us start by saying we are all beautiful, unique, and worthy. There’s no higher beauty standard to match than being ourselves in the most honest way possible. However, our natural aesthetics are constantly challenged by stress, sunrays, cacogenics, and unhealthy habits. Everything from what we put on our skin to what we eat has an effect on our appearance and well-being. Staying beautiful and healthy, as you will find in this article, isn’t a massive chore but a series of sensible choices one must make consistently.
Beauty from within
Eating a healthy diet
It is true what they say, "you are what you eat." Sugary, starchy, and fatty foods cause breakouts and cavities. Fruits and greens give you healthy skin and hair. Eating whole foods, nuts, seeds, pulses, and gluten-free grains is the key to an effective beauty routine. Watch out for those processed, packaged, and convenience foods. Eliminate inflammatory seed oils and artificial sweeteners, and minimise takeouts.
A healthy diet should cover all bases. You need adequate digestive enzymes in the stomach to aid digestion to absorb the nutrients. Consume more probiotic-rich foods. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kefir, miso, and kimchi are good for your gut. They reduce inflammation and support digestion. Sugar-free yoghurt offers plenty of probiotic support.
Healthy fats are important too. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the building blocks of cell membranes, essential for healthy skin. Add more oily fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, organic free-range eggs, avocado, coconuts, and extra virgin olive oil to your diet.
Your skin needs moisture within as much as on the outside. Keeping your skin hydrated protects it from dryness, dullness, acne, and premature fine lines. Structures in the skin that support collagen production need water to work more effectively. Moisture keeps your skin eleastic and plump. Dehydration can alter oil and sebum levels in the skin, leading to a higher chance of acne. Aim to drink two litres of water a day, herbal tea and coconut water included. Drink water at room temperature to hasten the absorption process.
Water-rich foods like cucumber and celery can also keep you hydrated. Cucumber is high in enzyme-charged water, B vitamins, nutrients, electrolytes, and silica. Celery is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Water helps lubricate the joints, deliver oxygen through the body, regulate body temperature, and prevent kidney damage, so it staying hydrated is also vital for a healthy body.
While exercising keeps you fit and helps you lose weight, it can also promote better skin. Increased circulation feeds the skin nutrients, hormones, and oxygen which are all essential for a healthy glow. There's a common myth that exercising can lead to breakouts. However, a powerful cardio workout does the opposite. Exercising reduces inflammation and levels out cortisol, both reasons that trigger flare-ups.
Getting plenty of rest and sleep
Sleep and rest make us feel good, helping us to de-stress. All adults need 7-9 hours of undisturbed sleep for the body to fix wear and tear. Nighttime is also when cell turnover is supercharged in the skin to build collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. When you don't get enough sleep, your body doesn't get to produce sufficient collagen, which you need for good skin. Insufficient rest also leads to extra cortisol production. High levels of cortisol can break down your existing collagen, making your skin lose its elasticity and deepening fine lines and wrinkles.
Sunscreen is the most effective way to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation, which causes skin cancer and also results in sunburn, pigmentation, premature ageing, blotchiness, skin discolouration, and textural abnormalities. Sun protection is anti-ageing care. Sun is responsible for 90% of visible ageing signs.
Sun's harmful UV rays are mainly separated into UVB and UVA rays. UVB can cause sunburns, and UVAs cause premature ageing that results in wrinkles and age spots. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects you from both types of harmful sun rays. The rating standard for UVB is measured in SPF (sun protection factor), and UVA protection is measured in PA+ ratings.
Our skin cells are in a constant state of regeneration, with a 28-day cycle for shedding dead cells. However, exfoliating increases cellular turnover and ensures that the dead skin cells don't get to stick around. Dead skin cells do not reflect light, and once they build up on the surface, can make your skin look dull.
Exfoliating purges dead cells to reveal brighter and fresher skin. It removes pollution and dirt while cleaning pores and stimulating collagen. It prevents clogged pores, which lead to breakouts. Professionals recommend exfoliating 2-3 times a week if you have normal and combination skin. For sensitive skin, do not go over the once-a-week limit.
Smoking can change how you look by ageing your skin, teeth, and hair. And let's not forget how detrimental it is to your general well-being, from causing lung and oral cancer to damaging fertility, heart, and bones. There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. These destroy the skin's natural collagen and elastin, causing skin laxity and wrinkles. Nicotine in cigarettes impairs blood flow to the skin, which constricts oxygen and nutrients flowing to the skin. The infamous smoker's lines around the mouth can also make you look older. Smokers are more susceptible to age spots as well.
From under-eye bags to dry skin, stress can get to your skin. 'Stress skin' is a result of psychological strain. When you are stressed, your body overproduces cortisol, the primary stress hormone. It affects the skin barrier. The barrier traps moisture and keeps allergens, irritants, and pollutants out. To do its job, it needs beneficial oil, water, and the microbiome. Cortisol depletes them all.
Your skin becomes more prone to infection, irritation, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation. It becomes more sensitive to free radicals generated by pollution. Stress also induces the production of internal free radicals, destructing cells and resulting in oxidative stress. When free radicals target DNA, it causes skin cancer. When they target elastin and collagen, it causes fine lines and wrinkles. When they target lipids, it causes skin dehydration and acne. Chronic stress inhibits the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen. You end up losing youthful, glowing, and plump skin. The skin also becomes thinner.
Looking after your beauty is a matter of looking after your physical and mental well-being. A healthy body and mind leave little room for problematic skin, hair, and nails. From watching what we eat to wearing sunscreen, it all makes a big difference. Youthful and radiant skin starts within. essentials.lk is your one-stop shop for healthy skincare. Shop a wide selection of international and British beauty brands to ace your skincare routine.